To prevent wasting leftover doses, France this week made it possible for anyone – no matter if they belong to a priority group of not – to book last-minute appointments to get their jab.
Those aged between 18 and 50 who would otherwise have to wait until mid-June to become eligible for the anti-Covid inoculation are therefore now allowed to book a slot – if they can find a free one that is within the next 24 hours.
Later appointments remain reserved to over-50s, according to the French vaccination priority calendar.
As the scramble for doses began, French data scientist Guillaume Rozier, the creator of the much-used tool CovidTracker, has together with his team created an online platform that hunts out last-minute appointments.
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Their ‘Chronodoses’ website is linked to DoctoLib, the most widely used of France’s online medical platforms, plus other appointment platforms including Maiia, KelDoc and OrdoClic.
After finding an available slot, the site redirects users to one of these to make the appointment.
Here’s how to use Chronodoses
Go to the website Vite Ma Dose ! (Quickly my dose!), another Rozier-created online tool that helps anyone find a vaccination appointment in their area (not necessarily in the next 24 hours).
Type in your city, town or post code.
Once you have chosen your area, you may select “chronodoses uniquement“, on the top right side of the site, to have the website search for free slots today or tomorrow in your area.
The site will then tell you how many last-minute appointments there are in your area, and how many vaccination centres these are spread across.
For example, the below example shows 331 free slots in eight different vaccination centres around the southern port-city of Marseille.
By scrolling down, you can select the centre closest to you.
For each centre the website shows how many free appointments (créneaux) there are, just below “prendre rendez-vous” (make an appointment).
In this case there are 200 appointments available.
However slots get snapped up quickly, so you might not be able to find an appointment in your area the first time you check the website.
When the platform went live on May 11th there were 200,000 users visiting Vite Ma Dose, many of whom were looking for Chronodoses, Rozier tweeted.
— GRZ (@GuillaumeRozier) May 11, 2021
Due to high traffic on the site Wednesday, the creators of the website noted that there could be a delay of up to 30 minutes between Chronodoses and Doctolib. This meant that users clicking on an available slot on Chronodoses might get a message from Doctolib that there were no appointments left.
The site will probably get less busy as time goes on, and the weekend around the Ascension holiday might be a particularly good time to snap up a slot.
Note also that some appointments are available with Maiia and not Doctolib, or vice versa. You see which platform is offering the slot just next to “créneaux“, below “prendre rendez-vous“.
Here, for example, there are 78 free slots with Doctolib.
Once you find the centre you want to book with, click on “prendre rendez-vous“.
The website then directs you to the site which offered the appointments, where you select the category you are looking for, often it is “places restantes“. Then select that you are coming in for a first injection (sometimes you also have to select the vaccine type).
The website should then provide an overview of its next available slots. Make sure you book one in the next 24 hours – even if the platform gives other options – if you are not in a priority group.
After you choose your slot, fill out the remaining information the platform asks of you, and, voilà ! You are free to go to your appointment.
More information about how the actual vaccination is done HERE.
And if you worry about making yourself understood in French, our vocab guide to get a vaccine in France might help.